In past generations, people learned how to cook by watching their elders in the kitchen. Nowadays, people learn how to cook by watching TV or listening to their ipod. Yes, you can now download countless free cooking shows to your ipod so you can learn how to flambe, saute, and broil while you commute to work.
I'm not pointing fingers or assigning blame for our country's poor eating habits. In fact, I'm addicted to The Next Iron Chef. And my good friend Muffy recently turned me on to "Why We Cook," a weekly radio show and podcast (on the Heritage Radio Network) featuring Chef Erica Wides (see photo), who teaches at the Institute for Culinary Education in Manhattan.
In thoughtful, conversational segments, Wides, who is down-to-earth and informative, answers the basic question "Why do we seek out interesting foods?"
The half-hour show isn't for anyone looking for quick and easy tips about how to get dinner on the table. Rather, it's for people who enjoy asking questions about why we cook the way we do and contemplating the sociological, historical, and cultural issues related to cooking.
Wides bills "Why We Cook" as a virtual cooking school on the radio, focusing on techniques, seasonal dish how-to’s, ingredients, and philosophical musings about the industry. Each show Wides features a different style and technique of cooking and answers listeners' questions about food. Occasionally, she interviews special guests from the culinary world.
When I type "How to cook" into the itunes search engine, I am amazed at how many free cooking podcasts are available, including "Food Done Right," "Bluewater TV" from the Bluewater Grill, and "Under the Tuscan Gun," featuring gum-cracking New York actress Debi Mazar and her Tuscan born hubby Gabriele Corcos.
The only problem with all of these options is that if I get hooked, I may not have anytime to actually cook.